It could be the lure of being closer to Santa's home turf, or perhaps just a desire for simplicity and homeliness at a time of economic stress, but swaths of Britons appear to be abandoning local traditions this Christmas in favour of Scandinavian customs.
As a dwindling number of diehard traditionalists may know, today is "Stir-up Sunday", a centuries-old Anglican ritual that saw cooks make their Christmas pudding the Sunday before Advent, which this year falls on 25 November. But research has found that 85% of people polled have never heard of Stir-up Sunday and only 7% will make Christmas puddings from scratch this year.
Instead, northern European gingerbread houses and Swedish candle arches are taking over just as Christmas puddings and mistletoe are disappearing. Lidl is selling Danish caviar and both Lidl and Aldi have the Swedish Christmas favourite, goose, on sale for budget festive dinner.
A combination of the influence of furniture giant Ikea, the crime fiction of Henning Mankell and Jo Nesbo, and successful TV shows such as The Killing and The Bridgehas raised the profile of Scandinavian culture in the past few years. Even winter fashion is going Nordic with fur-lined boots, and jumpers with patterns straight out of a Shetland Island knitwear shop.
Shopping delivery service Ocado has launched its first Scandinavian Christmas Shop. Jason Gissing, Ocado's co-founder and married to a Norwegian, said demand was surging. "Scandinavian food has seen a massive rise in popularity across the UK this year. We like to be ahead of the trends," he said.
He added that the top sellers were Nyakers pepparkakor – the Swedish traditional Christmas ginger biscuits whose sales have soared by 73% over the last three weeks – and even the traditional Scandinavian favourite, pickled herring, which is tickling British tastebuds.
Among several northern European-themed books out in time for Christmas is Scandinavian Christmas, by Danish cook Trine Hahnemann. She said she thought the trend was down to a deep-seated desire among the British for the snowy folklore scenes enjoyed across the North Sea.
"The main reason, I think, is that it is very authentic, not so commercial, but all about homeliness and even homemade presents," she said. "There's also a bit of the fantasy that it has to snow at Christmas.
"In Denmark and Sweden Christmas is still very traditional, and it goes on for all of December. It's very sociable; in my street in Copenhagen neighbours gather to sing carols and share a drink every night through December.
"If you don't like your family you don't have to dread it, you can see friends. We have lots of candles and baking and making our own Christmas presents, it's very special."
TV baker John Whaite, winner of the BBC's series The Great British Bake Off, is happy with an alternative Christmas: "I'm all up for losing some of our stuffy traditions. I don't sit through the Queen's speech any more, nor do I hang up the mistletoe. A lot of people have traditional Christmas pudding simply out of duty to appease the older generation."
The Swedish Church in London has moved its traditional pre-Christmas St Lucia celebrations to ticketed services in Westminster Abbey and Southwark Cathedral, to meet demand from non-Swedes. All the services are sold out.
In London this weekend, two large Scandinavian Christmas markets are being held while the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square is shipped in from Norway.
But perhaps the biggest change to British Christmas this year will be that, for the first time in history, the gift of a sweater with a reindeer motif is actually quite cool.
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